In Ripple, Martin is a floundering painter desperately attempting to pursue his fine-art inclinations rather than toil in the world of commercial art. He hires a model, Tina, to pose for a series of paintings he dubs “The Eroticism of Homeliness.” Over time, their relationship evolves from a tenuous working relationship to a confused sexual entanglement. Martin’s initial repulsion for Tina slowly turns to attraction, causing him to re-evaluate his own notions of beauty and sexuality. Tina’s motives in working for Martin are slowly turned upside-down as well, leading toward the book’s inevitable, explosive ending. Sad, funny, and often uncomfortably titillating, Ripple is rendered with kinetic realism.